An assessment of plant based natural resources in the Okavango region, Botswana using satellite imagery

Thoralf Meyer, Lin Cassidy, Susan Ringrose, Cornelis Vanderpost, Donald L. Kgathi, Barbara N. Ngwenya, Hannelore Bendsen, Wilma Matheson, T. Kemosidile

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter uses two different satellite imagery platforms, SPOT and Landsat, to map natural resource areas around the Okavango Delta. The areas surrounding three villages, each with different resources and land uses, were studied.. As a result of the growing human population and the expanding tourism sector, there is an increasing process of commoditisation and "privatisation" of the land and natural resources in Botswana. This has the potential to put pressure on natural resources and lead to their scarcity. In the cyclical flood pulse system of the Okavango Delta's wetlands, this is of particular concern, because intra- and inter-annual variation in water levels changes the availability of key natural resources, while the demand for them is growing steadily. Sustainable use in the face of rapid change in such a highly dynamic environment can only be achieved through sound management based on regular monitoring of conditions. The new(er) generations of satellite imagery hold much promise with respect to the more detailed mapping of vegetation cover, from which plant-based resources might be derived. This work involved an assessment of dry season SPOT 5 XS and wet season Landsat 7 ETM+ imagery in terms of their relative value for plant based natural resource mapping around specific candidate villages in the Okavango region. The finer spatial resolution of the SPOT imagery helped in the discrimination of detailed land uses in the vicinity of the villages which assists in the translation of the data for use by local communities. However the greater spectral range of Landsat makes it much better at discriminating different vegetation types and therefore in mapping specific plant-based natural resource areas. Given cost considerations, this further strengthens the suitability of Landsat to developing country conditions. While the satellite-based maps of the resource distributions are unable to identify the exact location and extent of harvestable resource areas, they do identify habitat types for establishing monitoring zones on which ground-based monitoring and management strategies can be based.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRural Livelihoods, Risk and Political Economy of Access to Natural Resources in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
    EditorsDonald Letsholo Kgathi, Barbara N. Ngwenya, Michael B. Darkoh
    PublisherNova Science Publishers
    Number of pages31
    ISBN (Electronic)9781611226997
    ISBN (Print)9781631170232
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Publication series

    NameEnvironmental Research Advances


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